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A Sanskrit book mentions that Rigveda is divided in 8 ashtakas and 10 mandalas. I am aware of mandalas but what are 8 asthakas of Rigveda?

  • 1
    They are just a different way of dividing the Rig veda. – Lazy Lubber Mar 9 at 9:08
  • @LazyLubber if someone says RV x.y.z then x is madala, y is sukta and z is richa...now what's asthaka? – Lakhi Mar 9 at 17:34
  • In Ashtaka system, RV is referenced by ashtaka-adhyaya-varga-mantra. For example, the following gives both referencing systems- sacred-texts.com/hin/sbe32/sbe3215.htm – Lazy Lubber Mar 9 at 17:49
  • As mentioned here, Ashtaka is one way of dividing whole the Samhita. Do you want to know that name of 8 Ashtakas or something else? – Pandya Mar 10 at 6:39
  • @Pandya yes, something like that... – Lakhi Mar 10 at 15:48
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In A Concise Encyclopaedia of Hinduism (Vol. 3), Swami Harshananda explains how the Aṣṭaka method of division of the Ṛgveda is different from the Maṇḍala method. In this method, the 1028 sūktas (hymns) of Ṛgveda are divided into eight aṣṭakas (eighths). Each aṣṭaka is in turn subdivided into eight adhyāyas (lessons) and each adhyāya into several groups of 5-6 hymns called vargas.

The Aṣṭaka method though less popular apparently helps with memorization given that the Vedic mantras used to be handed down orally.

Methods of Division

Ancient Hindu tradition has divided the Ṛgveda in two different ways. The first is the Aṣṭaka Method and the second, the Maṇḍala Method. The former has been designed to facilitate easy memorisation, by apportioning more or less equal number of mantras to each section. In the latter method, the subject is more important.

The following tables give the details of both the methods:

THE AṢṬAKA METHOD

+---------+----------+--------+----------+
|  Aṣṭaka | Adhyāyas | Vargas |  Mantras |
+---------+----------+--------+----------+
|    1    |    8     |   265  |   1370   |
|         |          |        |          |
|    2    |    8     |   221  |   1147   |
|         |          |        |          |
|    3    |    8     |   225  |   1209   |
|         |          |        |          |
|    4    |    8     |   250  |   1289   |
|         |          |        |          |
|    5    |    8     |   238  |   1263   |
|         |          |        |          |
|    6    |    8     |   331  |   1730   |
|         |          |        |          |
|    7    |    8     |   248  |   1263   |
|         |          |        |          |
|    8    |    8     |   246  |   1281   |
+---------+----------+--------+----------+
|    8    |   64     |  2024  |  10,552  |
+---------+----------+--------+----------+

THE MAṆḌALA METHOD

+---------+----------+--------+---------+
| Maṇḍala | Anuvākas | Sūktas | Mantras |
+---------+----------+--------+---------+
|         |          |        |         |
|    1    |   24     |  191   |   2006  |
|         |          |        |         |
|    2    |    4     |   43   |    429  |
|         |          |        |         |
|    3    |    5     |   62   |    617  |
|         |          |        |         |
|    4    |    5     |   58   |    589  |
|         |          |        |         |
|    5    |    6     |   87   |    727  |
|         |          |        |         |
|    6    |    6     |   78   |    765  |
|         |          |        |         |
|    7    |    6     |  104   |    841  |
|         |          |        |         |
|    8    |   10     |  103   |   1716  |
|         |          |        |         |
|    9    |    7     |  114   |   1108  |
|         |          |        |         |
|   10    |   12     |  191   |   1754  |
+---------+----------+--------+---------+
|   10    |   85     |  1028  | 10,552  |
+---------+----------+--------+---------+

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